Apple sued over OS X Quick Look preview feature

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
Non-practicing entity WhitServe on Friday filed a complaint against Apple, claiming that the Quick Look function found in a number of OS X iterations infringes on its file viewing patent from 2011.

In its claim, filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut, WhitServe alleges that Quick Look violates the company's U.S. Patent No. 7,921,139 for a "System for sequentially opening and displaying files in a directory," which was applied for in 2006 and granted in April of 2011.

WhitServe Patent
Illustration of the '139 patent's file viewer and selector module (420). | Source: USPTO


Apple introduced Quick Look in Mac OS X 10.5 "Leopard," which debuted at the Worldwide Developers Conference in October 2007. The feature allows users to view the contents of a folder or file without opening the specific application that created it, with supported formats including PDF, QuickTime, Pages, Text and others. The function remains active on all current Macs and can be accessed via the spacebar.

The '139 patent offers a similar solution, using software to open and close files in a near-full view mode, an improvement on the thumbnail-based technology of the day. Also noted in the patent's language is a system to browse said files, called the file selector module, which can move through previews in sequential order. Unlike Apple's invention, however, the '139 patent allows users to edit documents and view multiple files at once.

WhitServe claims it licenses the patent's technology to undisclosed companies, and alleges that Apple's infringement is causing irreparable harm "not fully compensable by money damages."

The Connecticut-based LLC is seeking damages and court fees from Apple, as well as a permanent injunction against Quick Look's implementation in OS X.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 20
    bonobobbonobob Posts: 123member
    Unix has had this capability for at least a couple decades (the less command). This patent should be invalidated on grounds of prior art, if not for how obvious the idea is and how trivial it is to implement.
  • Reply 2 of 20


    I agree. The people handing out patents should be held liable for damages/costs of companies who get sued for silly patents that should never have been approved

  • Reply 3 of 20
    gtrgtr Posts: 3,231member


    I have to ask.


     


    Is there a way that we, as consumers, can express our 'displeasure' with entities that engage in this kind of rubbish?


     


    Maybe some kind of genuine DOS attack with email complaints, etc...?


     


    Anybody got any bright ideas?

  • Reply 4 of 20
    drblankdrblank Posts: 3,383member
    The Patent Office will probably just retort back "All we do is register the patents", just like the Copyright Office tells people. You know how Government works. Admit nothing unless proven in a court of law.

    Unfortunately, the legal system has flaws to protect criminal behavior. Innocent unless proven in a court of law.

    BUT, there are moral laws. It's complicated. There are civil rights of individuals and there are rights of corporations being treated as an individual.

    Personally, I think this patent is kind of silly since the patent was granted in 2011, but Apple was already using since 2007, so I think this case should be dismissed and the patent should be removed.
  • Reply 5 of 20

    Courts are independent, let the court decide.
  • Reply 6 of 20
    jay-tjay-t Posts: 39member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by drblank View Post



    Unfortunately, the legal system has flaws to protect criminal behavior. Innocent unless proven in a court of law.


     


    WOW! Just unbelievable. image


    So you think, that being innocent until proven wrong is a flaw in the legal system?! I think you should be in jail until your "innocence" is proven! 

  • Reply 7 of 20
    mdcatmdcat Posts: 79member


    But note that the application for the patent was made in 2006.

  • Reply 8 of 20


    "Non-practicing entity WhitServe..."


     


    Typo: Shouldn't that be "WritServe"?

  • Reply 9 of 20
    morkymorky Posts: 170member
    Sounds like the patent and Quickview are very different things. One thing you have to be able to implement in Quickview is an ability to read many file formats, such as the old and new MS office formats, to provide previews at the OS-level. Not exactly trivial and not something you should be able to patent without demonstrating you can actually implement it.
  • Reply 10 of 20
    The person or company who invented File Read should have patented and stopped everyone from using it. If not they should patent that and file Criminal case against everyone and stop this patent war once or all.
  • Reply 11 of 20

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by bonobob View Post



    Unix has had this capability for at least a couple decades (the less command). This patent should be invalidated on grounds of prior art, if not for how obvious the idea is and how trivial it is to implement.


    And since OSX is based on Unix it an implementation of this feature built into its foundation.

  • Reply 12 of 20
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,558member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Morky View Post



    Sounds like the patent and Quickview are very different things. One thing you have to be able to implement in Quickview is an ability to read many file formats, such as the old and new MS office formats, to provide previews at the OS-level. Not exactly trivial and not something you should be able to patent without demonstrating you can actually implement it.


     


    This is the main problem with the patent system today, that an actual implementation of the "invention" is no longer required. Without an implementation, it's not an invention, it's just an idea, and often a vague one at that.

  • Reply 13 of 20
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,042member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by drblank View Post

    BUT, there are moral laws. It's complicated. There are civil rights of individuals and there are rights of corporations being treated as an individual.


    From Abraham Lincoln’s former law partner, William Henry Herndon :


    "One morning, not long before Lincoln’s nomination — a year perhaps — I was in your office and heard the following: Mr. Lincoln, seated at the baize-covered table in the center of the office, listened attentively to a man who talked earnestly and in a low tone. After being thus engaged for some time Lincoln at length broke in, and I shall never forget his reply. ‘Yes,’ he said, ‘we can doubtless gain your case for you; we can set a whole neighborhood at loggerheads; we can distress a widowed mother and her six fatherless children and thereby get for you six hundred dollars to which you seem to have a legal claim, but which rightfully belongs, it appears to me, as much to the woman and her children as it does to you. You must remember that some things legally right are not morally right. We shall not take your case, but will give you a little advice for which we will charge you nothing. You seem to be a sprightly, energetic man; we would advise you to try your hand at making six hundred dollars in some other way.’

  • Reply 14 of 20
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,741member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    Non-practicing entity 


     


     


    Oh. Say no more. 


     


    Looks like these bottom-feeders are just another patent-purchasing outfit, buying them up squatting on them until they can nail the next company that comes along. 


     


    http://www.whitserve.com


     


    The very definition of Patent Trolling.


     


    Look at the "About" tab on their website. Company founded by a Patent Attorney. Oh, and uh . . . "inventor." 


     


    LMAO

  • Reply 15 of 20
    From what I understand from the description in the article is that the 'inventors' 'never-introduced' 'file-viewing system' uses the application and the document is editable. Seems like in OSX it is handled by the OS and not editable but just viewable for finding files. More b.s. for one of the most valuable companies in the world. Maybe I should sue Apple because I thought a smaller iPad/bigger iPod touch would be a good 'idea' back in 2010. Ludacris.
  • Reply 16 of 20
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    I saw the headline and thought this must be AccidentallyRenamingFiles“Space”Gate.
  • Reply 17 of 20
    Sue the deep pockets so maybe you can restart your company????
  • Reply 18 of 20
    Apple was using a technology like this one back in 1992 called Bento...not to be confused with the application of the same name. By packaging up a file structure, another application could look into the file and access the information that it could. Viewers were obviously one of the first demos, but there were others. Take a look at the released specification (http://info.wgbh.org/upf/pdfs/BentoSpec1_0d5.pdf).

    The patent guys need to start to actually learn about the tech to which they grant patents. I believe that we need to have people in the industry or at least with some background in the field itself make the determination if the art is actually original. I'm told that the PTO tries to do this. However, they clearly miss the mark far too many times.
  • Reply 19 of 20
    desuserigndesuserign Posts: 1,316member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Angel Dibbs View Post



    Apple was using a technology like this one back in 1992 called Bento...not to be confused with the application of the same name. By packaging up a file structure, another application could look into the file and access the information that it could. Viewers were obviously one of the first demos, but there were others. Take a look at the released specification (http://info.wgbh.org/upf/pdfs/BentoSpec1_0d5.pdf).


     


    Interesting. I scanned WhitServes patent. Doesn't look at all like the same thing as QuickLook to me. I don't think they have a case either.


     


     


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Angel Dibbs View Post



    The patent guys need to start to actually learn about the tech to which they grant patents. I believe that we need to have people in the industry or at least with some background in the field itself make the determination if the art is actually original. I'm told that the PTO tries to do this. However, they clearly miss the mark far too many times.


     


    That would be nice, and 200 years ago it was probably more likely. But it's impossible vet patents properly, and it's not really their job. They make an effort to stop any ridiculous patents, but mostly they serve to record and document patent claims. They expect patent applicants to do proper research and if they haven't, other interested parties will call foul. It's really the system of adjudicating patents that has become ridiculously expensive and onerous. As an example, how stupid is it that FRAND terms for SEPs are not specified clearly in the standard? At the very least, the percentage of the standard each contributor to the standard can claim should be specified. It's like deciding to re-fight the Civil War every few months.

  • Reply 20 of 20
    Hahaha sike?
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